Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fallen Marine was defender of 'righteous freedom'

Some time after he joined the Marine Corps, Nathaniel Schultz filled out a questionnaire asking him why he had signed up.

"Self reliance and ability to protect my family," Schultz wrote. "Decided if I go to war I might as well be the best, most well-trained. To fight for righteous, individual freedom for myself and all children of God no matter where they were raised."

Family and friends gathered under mostly cloudy skies Saturday morning at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon to honor a righteous fight cut short and the young man who waged it. There they were comforted by Pastor George Thomasson, who held up Schultz's goals as evidence of his focus, dedication and deep convictions.

"Nate's life was cut so short," Thomasson said. "We so appreciate deeply in our hearts the sacrifice he made."

Lance Cpl. Schultz was killed Aug. 21 during combat operations in Afghanistan's war-ravaged Helmand province. He was deployed to that country in June after training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and was promoted to lance corporal three weeks before his death.

Dozens of people gathered outside Bell Shoals early Saturday to greet the hearse bearing his flag-draped coffin. Many waved flags. Others arrived by motorcycle as part of the Patriot Guard Riders, who show up at funerals for fallen troops around the country to show their appreciation.

Inside the church sanctuary, those who knew Schultz were encouraged by Capt. William Spencer, a chaplain from MacDill Air Force Base, to share stories about him.

"There's healing that takes place when we tell stories," he said. "In the stories, Nate is still with us."

A head-and-shoulders photograph of Schultz in dress uniform stared down from two video screens, his eyes serious and piercing. It's the same expression he wore in senior English class at Clearwater's Countryside High School, said his teacher, Sophie Kugeares.

She admitted to trying to talk her "golden student" out of enlisting after he graduated in 2009.

"He told me he would come back and see us in his dress blues," she said.

Grace Maguire, one of his five older sisters, said she nevertheless thought of him as her big brother. He looked out for her and they played Batman and Robin when they were children.

"He was my Marine," she said. "He will always be my Marine."

Jordan Freemon spent time with Schultz at the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch, which works with troubled young people trying to get on the right path. He used the big-brother comparison, too, adding that Schultz tried to convince him to join the Marines.

"You'll be a hero and the girls will love you," he recalled from the sales pitch.

Sgt. Andrew Reeves, with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines Regiment, said he remembers taking stock of Schultz and quickly liking the willingness to work and learn that he demonstrated. He could take it and give it out on the joking front but quickly established himself as having that intangible quality that makes a true Marine.

"Nate did us very proud," Reeves told those gathered. "He will always be a part of that tradition and family.

"Semper fi."

Bill Varian can be reached at (813) 226-3387 or varian@sptimes.com.

Fallen Marine was defender of 'righteous freedom' 08/28/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 28, 2010 10:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

    Winner of the week 1: 'Liquor wall’ proponents. Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a bill to allow Walmart, Target and other big box stores to sell liquor was a victory for an array of groups, from smaller merchants and Publix (which has stand-alone booze shops near its stores) to those who feel the hard stuff …

  2. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  3. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  4. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  5. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.